Why I Decided To Travel Solo

The reason I decided to up and leave to travel alone! - Words by Hayley S / pictures by Kat...

Norwegian-Hayley-30
My decision to travel alone, came from a combination of things. Firstly, I started to grow tired of waiting for my friends to have money. We always talked about making trips or going away and nothing ever seemed to happen. When it got to the point of not even being able to organise some plans for a night out, I knew that it was probably time to make some travel plans el solo!

Secondly, I realised that there were other ways to travel solo; than just by living out of a backpack and being restricted to a really tight budget. After giving it some serious thought I realised I didn’t have to give up my job to travel, nor did I have to do it by dragging all my belongings with me cross country. For me, a healthy holiday allowance with my company and living at home meant I had sufficient time and funds to do the solo travel thing my own way. Please remember that ‘travelling’ comes in all shapes and sizes. If you like your home comforts and want to travel intermittently around your job like me, then you can. Or alternatively if you want to take a year out, pack a bag and travel the world without adhering to set dates or specific destinations, then you can! Now the biggest thing that influenced my decision to travel around on my own is a bit more personal. In early 2011 I was diagnosed with anxiety and OCD. I’ll elaborate more on this another day maybe, but it restricted me in ways you cannot imagine.

Some days I couldn’t even leave the house or sleep in a room on my own. After a few years of support, self-love and learning to accept my faults rather than fight against them, I wanted to push myself further. I wanted to take full control of my anxiety, rather than let it control me. So after wishing I could for so long, I finally did. I booked a solo trip to NYC, then another, I then worked in Dublin for a month, followed by a trip to Rome, Croatia and now Australia – all of this on my own. It was definitely terrifying and I definitely had a few moments where I doubted myself and shed a few tears, but was it worth it? FUCK YEAH! Pushing myself, no matter how hard it was, meant that I got to travel, meet new people and do things that I definitely wouldn’t have achieved cooped up in my room. I finally stuck my middle finger up to any mental health problems that I might have and it felt AMAZING.

Looking back now at what I have achieved in the last year, I’m incredibly proud of myself. For a long time I dreamt of travelling, especially going to America and instead of dreaming about it, I finally had the balls to make it a reality. I have had so much fun and I regret absolutely nothing. Not even the sorry state of my bank account! If it means I have to live at home a bit longer, then so be it. For some the want and need to travel doesn't come until later in life, if at all and you know what? That’s fine! I’m constantly learning on my own travel journey that travelling and seeing the world has no age limit and it definitely has no rules.

Have you ever previously travelled solo? If so, what were your reasons? If not, is it something you'd consider doing? 

33 Comments

  1. Katherine Lou 19th September 2016 / 11:24 am

    What a great post! I haven’t travelled solo but I do travel quite often. A lot of times, I see my friends keep pushing back traveling and for me, I’m just like,”See ya!” It’s definitely a mental thing. Many times, people don’t think they can which means you pretty much arrived to that conclusion. But anyway, you have been to so many amazing places and I’m quite jealous!

    • Hayley 20th September 2016 / 10:08 am

      Thank you! I was exactly the same, but decided to just take the plunge as I didn’t want to miss out or look back and think ‘I wish I’d have done that’! x

  2. Madeline 19th September 2016 / 1:24 pm

    Hi Hayley,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. Most of the time all of our dreams are waiting for us, on the other side of fear.Well done you for going for it, despite your issues. I have never travelled alone because I have been…scared! lol! But this is one of the things I would like to do in adult life.

    http://www.souljournersstory.com/

    • Hayley 20th September 2016 / 10:09 am

      No problems – hopefully it will help you to overcome your fear, just like I did mine! 🙂 x

  3. Gabrielle 19th September 2016 / 1:29 pm

    This was such an incredible read; you’ve well and by the sound of it, you’ve certainly shown your mental health problems who’s boss! How exciting to have travelled alone all the way to NYC – and I love how you mention travelling needn’t always be with a backpack and tiny budget; travelling can be done in one million and one different ways, that’s the beauty of it 🙂

    aglassofice.com

    • Hayley 20th September 2016 / 10:09 am

      Definitely, people always think it’s done the ‘gap year’ kind of way but it’s however you want to do it, so you can get the most out of it! Thank you Gabrielle! 🙂 x

    • Hayley 20th September 2016 / 10:09 am

      Thanks lovely! x

  4. Emily 19th September 2016 / 7:52 pm

    Yaaas girl! Traveling solo is something I think every woman should experience at least once in her lifetime. I’ve traveled solo a few times and am planning to much more, and I love it. I do it mainly because I don’t have anyone I know that’s crazy enough to go to some of the places I want to go to. Basically, I just don’t have any travel buddies. So I am not going to hold myself back. 🙂

    -Emily http://www.coatandcoffee.com

    • Hayley 20th September 2016 / 10:10 am

      Good for you lovely – I felt exactly the same, it’s so liberating to travel alone! 🙂 x

  5. Sarah 19th September 2016 / 8:55 pm

    I keep thinking about solo travel, but I always freak myself out – I want to travel lots more than my friends do so its a bit of a pain. maybe next year i’ll take the plunge

    • Hayley 20th September 2016 / 10:11 am

      You should do it Sarah! After all, we’re the only ones who hold ourselves back and I think we build things up to be much scarier than they ever actually are – you’ll love it! 🙂 x

    • Hayley 20th September 2016 / 10:11 am

      So glad to hear that Michele! 🙂 x

  6. Anjelique 20th September 2016 / 3:28 am

    It is amazing how you have been able to conquer your mental health and your fears for the journey of a lifetime! I am looking at doing a similar solo trip myself next year and just reading about your positive experiences makes me look forward to it even more!

    X

    Anjelique

    http://anjelique.com.au | snapchat: anjeliquetv

    • Hayley 20th September 2016 / 10:12 am

      Thank you for your lovely comment Anjelique – it means the world! I can’t wait to hear all about your travel journeys! x

  7. Tina 20th September 2016 / 7:25 am

    I hear that traveling solo is an incredible experience. I am so glad you tried it! I don’t think I have the balls for it myself heheh but I’ll be vicariously living through you!

    Tina
    http://www.justatinabit.com

    • Hayley 20th September 2016 / 10:12 am

      It really is! If you ever take the plunge let us know – we’d love to follow your journey! 🙂 x

  8. Hayley S 20th September 2016 / 12:11 pm

    Thank you for all your lovely comments. Means the world! I hope to expand on my journey with mental health another time as it’s something that is so relatable these days to so many people. My tip is to just book it. That way you can’t talk yourself out of it! I’ve also got some tips related to solo travelling coming out soon. So keep your your eyes open. Xxx

  9. Amy 20th September 2016 / 12:22 pm

    You’re so brave for doing this, I would absolutely love to travel solo I think it’d be really relaxing, but at the same time I think I’d be too scared to!
    Amy xx
    http://www.callmeamy.co.uk

    • Hayley S 20th September 2016 / 5:50 pm

      Thank you! Don’t let the fear of the unknown hold you back – there is to much to see and do in the short time we have 🙂 People think I’m brave, but the little things are the bits that cause me the most anxiety. I think it’s incredibly brave to start a blog and put yourself out there for the whole world to see.. now that’s having some balls! You go girl! x

  10. Josie 20th September 2016 / 2:20 pm

    Thanks so much for this post! It’s so inspiring to hear about people going beyond their mental health difficulties and encourages me to stop worrying and really go for it as well! I’ve most definitely recently been blessed with the travel bug and cannot wait to finish uni so I can just be let loose on the world (Australia in particular – hope you have a nice time, can’t wait to hear about it!)

    However, it’s all well and good dreaming and being excited about it, but I’m concerned my worrying and anxiety might hold me back and hearing about your experience and that’s it’s all turned out OK, helps comfort my worries, so thanks!! And I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it so much, can’t wait to read about your next adventure!

    Josie

    JosieVictoriaa

    • Hayley S 20th September 2016 / 5:46 pm

      I’m glad I could put your mind at ease! The best thing about solo travelling and being a worrier is that you are in control. Most anxiety comes from the unknown and feeling as though the big decisions have been taken out of your hands. Travelling on your own means you can do what you want, when you want! There is no-one there to pressure you and no need to feel guilty if you don’t want to do something. All you need to worry about is you. It’s ok to be selfish sometimes 🙂 I hope to see you treat yourself to a little trip after your graduation! Self-love comes in all shapes and sizes – even a holiday! xx

  11. Immy May 23rd September 2016 / 9:33 am

    LOVE this Hayley! I actually did a few years back when I was 20, it was a bit of a fuck it moment and I decided to travel to New York and live there for a few months over the summer. I was super nervous and there was definitely times where I thought I made a bad decision, but it was one of the most memorable and fun summers! I made some incredible friends and amazing memories, I would definitely do it again. Immy x

    http://www.immymay.com

    • Hayley S 23rd September 2016 / 4:20 pm

      Good for you! That is how I felt! I was like fuck it! Once I’d booked it, I couldn’t go back. So it was like I HAVE to do it. So glad I did though Only thing is I’ve got the travel bug now! I can’t stop! Xx

  12. Alice 23rd September 2016 / 11:52 am

    I love this post, really inspiring! You’ve gotta be brave to travel solo so pat yourself on the back, There’s a lot of pressure to quit your job and go travelling but this doesn’t work for everyone, so finding ways to see the world in a different way is ace. Alice xxx

    http://www.aliceadventures.co.uk

    • Hayley S 23rd September 2016 / 4:22 pm

      Thank you lovely! There are so many different ways to travel, there are no rules. You just have to do what is best for you! Xx

  13. Joyce 23rd September 2016 / 3:56 pm

    Traveling solo is tough but so rewarding! Congratulations, it’s really a big achievement! I’m glad that traveling has helped you in so many ways.

    Characters & Carry-ons

    • Hayley S 23rd September 2016 / 4:25 pm

      Thank you! It’s definitely helped with my confidence, although I still sweat the small stuff. It’s strange how you can fly half way around the world alone, yet everyday life can stress you out. Probably because you only have to worry about yourself when you’re travelling alone! Xx

  14. Naomi 26th September 2016 / 8:07 am

    This definitely sounds a bit like why I started traveling solo! I’ve suffered from my anxiety for quite some time (and still am) but traveling solo in a way has helped me immensely (but also made my anxiety worse at times, it’s weird haha). Congrats on making the step to do it though, I’m sure you’ve learned things you never thought you’d learn! I know I did.

    • Hayley S 27th September 2016 / 7:45 pm

      Thank you! I’ve definitely learnt that I am more capable of things, than I thought I was. Like you said you still have your moments, but not letting the anxiety hold you back is really exhilarating. I look back at all the places I have been and I’m really proud of myself. I hope you look back and think the same about your achievements too! xx

  15. Richel V. 4th October 2016 / 2:21 am

    I’ll be travelling solo for the first time in a week! I’m 60% anxious, 40% excited. Love reading this post of yours before my trip.

    xx, Richel Goes Places

  16. Hafiz 24th November 2016 / 12:16 am

    I am relatively certain I will be informed a lot of new stuff right here!
    Best of luck for the next!

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